Mourning and comfort


LA GRANDE — The themes of loss, mourning and comfort are no less universal today than they were when Johannes Brahms composed his “Requiem” 150 years ago.

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“Everybody’s definitely going to be feeling loss,” said Patty Sandoz, Grande Ronde Symphony Association’s director. “And there are also these wonderful moments and movements of hope throughout Brahms’ ‘Requiem.’”

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 2.29.48 PMJohannes Brahms, one of the most celebrated composers of the Romantic period, was largely encouraged to write “Requiem” after the deaths of his mother and his close friend, according to the GRSA press release.

Although the work was never attributed to either person, Brahms’ mother died in 1865, the same year he began composing “Requiem.” His friend, Robert Schumann, had died nine years prior.

“In each movement of ‘Ein deutsches Requiem,’ Brahms presents the listener with something distressing but he follows it with something comforting,” the press release said. “The first and last movements both talk about comfort for the living and the dead, while the fourth movement contemplates heaven.”

While soprano soloist Rebecca Replogle and baritone soloist Peter Wordelman complement each other musically, they also provide balance in terms of the collaboration behind this show.

Replogle is the director of choirs at Treasure Valley Community College in Ontario, where she teaches music theory, aural skills, music fundamentals, music appreciation, history of rock music and private voice.

Wordelman, professor of music and associate dean of arts and sciences at Eastern Oregon University, directs the EOU Chamber Choir.

In all, the performance features five groups: the Grande Ronde Symphony Orchestra, EOU Chamber Choir, Grande Ronde Community Choir, Treasure Valley Concert Choir and Treasure Valley Chorale. The GRSO will be joined by orchestral musicians from Ontario.

“This all started emerging last summer in collaboration with Treasure Valley Community College,” Sandoz said.

The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. March 16 in McKenzie Theater, EOU.

Sandoz encourages people to purchase their tickets in advance. Tickets cost $12 for adults, $8 for seniors, $2 for college students and $1 for eighth through 12th grades. Children in eighth grade or younger get in for free. Tickets are available at Direct Music Source at 1206 Adams Ave., La Grande, and at Betty’s Books at 1813 Main St., Baker City. They can also be purchased at or at the door.

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